Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu departed for Israel from New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport early on Sunday morning, wrapping up a six-day trip to the United States that included meetings with heads of state and an address to the United Nations General Assembly.
Netanyahu was set to touch down in Tel Aviv on Sunday afternoon, just after Israel’s airspace officially closes for the Yom Kippur holiday, but before the holiday starts at sundown.
“I think this visit brought many achievements, and with your help, and thanks to you, we were able to do lots of good things for the State of Israel,” the premier told fellow members of the Israeli delegation shortly before takeoff, noting he had met with some 20 leaders from five different continents during the visit.
“I also want to thank many of you for the congratulations [that I received] on the U.N. speech, which, to my joy, was not only broadcast live on U.S. television networks but also live in Saudi Arabia. This is, of course, a blessing for next year; next year will be a good year for us,” he added.
The premier began the visit, his first to the United States since being voted back into office in November, with a visit to California on Sept. 18, where he met with X (formerly Twitter) owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk at the electric vehicle company’s plant in Fremont.
On Tuesday morning, Netanyahu and his entourage landed in New York to participate in the annual gathering of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly.
Netanyahu met with U.S. President Joe Biden in New York on Wednesday, marking the first face-to-face meeting between the two leaders since Netanyahu was re-elected nine months ago. Their closed-door meeting focused on the Iranian threat, Saudi-Israeli normalization, the Palestinian issue and Israel’s judicial reform push.
On the sidelines of the U.N. assembly, Netanyahu also held meetings with the leaders of Germany, Turkey, South Korea, Ukraine, Paraguay, Congo, Malawi, South Sudan and the Pacific nations of Palau, Nauru, Marshall Islands, Fiji and Papua New Guinea, as well as with U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres.
During meetings with Netanyahu, leaders of Congo and Paraguay announced their intentions to open, or reopen, embassies in Jerusalem.
Capping off his week-long visit, Netanyahu addressed the UNGA on Friday. His speech largely focused on ongoing efforts to forge a normalization agreement between the Jewish state and Saudi Arabia.
A looming peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia will have far-reaching implications, including encouraging other Arab nations to normalize relations with Israel, Netanyahu predicted.
He called the Abraham Accords “a pivot of history,” and said the whole world is reaping their benefits. “All these are tremendous blessings,” said the premier.